Talk about good timing: February is Heart Health Awareness Month and Potato Lover’s Month. And, of course, Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day.
It’s no coincidence the Idaho Potato Commission, Eagle, picked February as the month that its shippers will be able to start using the American Heart Association’s heart check logo — which indicates the organization has endorsed a healthy food — on bags and Price Look-Up stickers.
Fitness expert Denise Austin, the commission’s spokeswoman, is scheduled to participate in a satellite media tour in early February, reaching 30 markets.
“We’ll get an enormous amount of coverage in one day,” said Frank Muir, the commission’s chief executive officer.
Austin already is popping up in new television ads as part of a national advertising campaign that started in mid-October.
Muir said that market research has shown that the vast majority of consumers think the nation’s best potatoes come from Idaho, but shoppers don’t necessarily know how to tell where their spuds came from.
The television ads — which are scheduled to air nationally through January on CNN, Fox News, Discovery Channel and the Food Network as well as on network TV in 10 major markets — reinforce the idea that the best potatoes come from Idaho and feature Austin telling viewers to look for the Grown in Idaho seal.
The commission also is making the most of its support of Boise State University football, which was unbeaten and ranked second in the nation through the first six weeks of the season. The commission has run advertisements during two nationally televised Boise State games this season, and the commission’s logo appears in the end zones and on the sidelines of Broncos Stadium. The commission also runs a full-page ad in Boise State’s game programs.
The commission has a similar relationship with the University of Idaho football team, which plays host to Boise State on Nov. 12 in what’s dubbed the Spud Bowl. That game is slated to appear on regional television.
Finally, the commission has placed advertisements in airports in Boise, Idaho Falls, Orlando, Fla., and New York’s John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports.
The ads, which are located near baggage claim carousels, feature a photo of two pieces of luggage and a bag of Idaho potatoes along with the kicker, “Be sure you pick the right bag.”
The ads will be on display for one year. The ad in Orlando debuted in October, just in time for the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit.
Muir said the two New York airports were selected because they are two of the nation’s busiest hubs, and the city represents the commission’s biggest market.